Areas of Practice

Across the spectrum of environmental law, we offer advice and representation with practical, results-oriented lawyering in the following practice areas...
Category: Areas of Practice

Environmental and energy policies are converging. Massachusetts is one of the leaders in reorganization of the agencies under one umbrella, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA). EOEEA and its Division of Energy Resources (DER) implement six seminal laws enacted 2008. In early years agency restructuring and new rules took priority. In recent years energy efficiency, rebates and subsidies, and portfolio standards took precedence. Now there is an explosion of climate change and greenhouse gas emission regulations. All the while EOEEA has regulated air pollution from stationary sources, now coordinated with climate policy, conservation strategy, and carbon trading.

The Green Communities Act of 2008 promotes expansion in energy efficiency, development of renewable energy resources, a new greener state building code, renewable energy installations, technology innovation, and utility bill savings.

The Act requires by 2020: at least 25% of state's electric load must be met with energy efficiency, load management, demand response, and customer heat/power generation; at least 20% of state's electric load must be met with new, renewable and alternative energy generation; there is a target of 10% decrease of fossil fuel use in buildings over 2007.

The Green Communities Act also establishes the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Auction Trust Fund, of which 80% of auction proceeds go to energy efficiency programs; the Green Communities Program, which: provides cities and towns with energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities.

Another major law, the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), made Massachusetts one of the first states with a comprehensive program addressing climate change, including greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals by 2020 and 2050; the Climate Action Plan, setting the 2020 limit at 25 percent below 1990 GHG emission levels; the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020, containing the measures to meet the limit.

The Climate Protection and Green Economy Act requires monitoring, reporting and regulating of GHG emissions with a regional greenhouse gas registry.

Important policies and programs used by our clients include the Commercial Solar Hot Water Financing Program; Commonwealth Hydropower Program; Commonwealth Organics-to-Energy Program; Commonwealth Solar II Rebates; Commonwealth Commercial Wind Program; Commonwealth Wind Community-Scale Initiative; Commonwealth Micro Wind Initiative; Green Communities Grant Program; Green Power Purchasing Commitment under Executive Order 484; Model As-of-Right Zoning Ordinance or Bylaw allowing use of wind energy facilities; Model As-of-Right Zoning Ordinance or Bylaw allowing use of large-scale solar energy facilities; Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption; Renewable Energy Trust Fund; Renewable Portfolio Standard; Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit; and Solar Renewable Energy Credits;

Our firm has the experience and knowledge to help you better understand and succeed under these evolving laws, procedures, policies and initiatives.

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